As part of Libereco’s #WeStandBYyou solidarity campaign, Filiz Polat (German Bundestag, Bündnis90/Die Grünen), Martina Munz (Swiss National Council, SP) and Yulia Klymenko (Ukrainian Verkhovna Rada, Holos) are are taking over godparenthood for political prisoners in Belarus.

Filiz Polat

Piotr Marchanka is a musician with the Belarusian folk rock band Irdorath. Piotr and his wife Yuliya Marchanka were arrested on 2 August 2021 at a summer house near Minsk during Irdorath singer Nadzeya Kalach’s birthday party. Both were taken to a pre-trial detention centre as suspects under Article 342 of the Belarusian Criminal Code (“organising or actively participating in group actions grossly violating public order”).

Filiz Polat, Member of the German Bundestag, has taken over the godparenthood for Piotr and Yuliya Marchanka and said: “I am deeply impressed by the courageous Belarusians who are fighting for democracy, freedom and human rights in their country. They have my full solidarity and recognition. We democrats must stand together, look and support each other. That is why, as a member of the German Bundestag, I am taking over the godparenthood for the couple Piotr and Yuliya Marchanka. As guitarist of the well-known Belarusian folk band Irdorath, Piotr performed during the protests against the rigged presidential elections. Freedom of expression and artistic freedom are cornerstones of democracy and the rule of law, not a crime. I call for the immediate and unconditional release of Piotr and Yuliya Marchanka and all other political prisoners in Belarus.”

Martina Munz

Alena Talkachova is a journalist with the independent Belarusian news website TUT.BY. She was arrested on 18 May 2021 as part of a criminal case brought against TUT.BY for alleged “tax evasion on a particularly large scale” under Article 243 of the Belarusian Criminal Code.

Martina Munz, member of the Swiss National Council, stated on the occasion of taking over the godparenthood for Alena Talkachova: “I urge the Belarusian regime to release the journalist Alena Talkachova. Ms Talkachova was arrested as part of the investigation into the news platform TUT.BY on 18 May 2021 and has been innocently imprisoned ever since. This is a violation of human rights and in particular the right to freedom of freedom of expression. The actions of dictator Lukashenko must be condemned in the strongest possible terms.”

Yulia Klymenko

Mikhail Ferenets is a Ukrainian citizen who was arrested in Belarus on 16 September 2020. He was initially ordered to be deported from Belarus to Ukraine, but this deportation decision was suspended on 1 October 2020. On 20 September 2021, Mikhail Ferenets was sentenced to three years in prison under Article 342 of the Belarusian Criminal Code for “participation in acts grossly violating public order” and under Article 16 and Article 341 for “vandalism and damage to property”.

Yulia Klymenko, Member of the Ukrainian Verkhovna Rada, has taken over the godparenthood for Mikhail Ferenets and stated: “Ukrainian citizen Mikhail Ferenets is being unjustly imprisoned by the Lukashenko regime for three years in Belarus for defending and promoting fundamental freedoms and democratic values. He went through psychological and physical tortures and stayed strong. I call for the immediate release of Mikhail Ferenets and all 700 political prisoners in Belarus. #WeStandBYyou”